Gujarat Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Ahmedabad
The Shri Swaminarayan Mandir of Ahmadabad, Gujarat is the first of the Swaminarayan temples around the world. Located in the Kalupur district of the Ahmadabad city, the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir has become an important pilgrimage and a major tourist attraction. It is the first temple of the Hindu sect known as the Swaminarayan Sampraday and is divided into two thrones or Gadis of the principal deities – Laxmi and Narayana – the sacred couple of Vishnu and his divine consort. The Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is the primary place of the NarNarayan Dev Gadi, the temple is made out of Burma Teak and the unique and colorful architectures seen in this temple is reflected in all of the other shrines of the Swaminarayan sect.
The foundation of the temple was laid during the early colonial era of India, around 1700s with the arrival of Lord Swaminarayan in Ahmadabad. Later in 1822 CE, a small shrine was built in an old orchard and bungalow in Shahibaug, Kaupur in Ahmadabad. This land was said to have been the favorite place of Lord Swaminarayan when visiting Ahmadabad for the Fudol festival. The British Colonial government, especially officer Sir Dunlop moved by the work of the Swaminarayan sect, famously donated to the 500 acres of land around the shrine, for the construction of the temple. Swami Ananandanand personally handled the process of construction of Shri Swaminarayan Mandir and the installation of the deity in the temple was attended by over half a million devotees.
After the construction, Sir Dunlop visited the temple and was so moved by the construction that he gave a salute of 101 guns for the temple. Later when the British government needed land for a Railway station is Kalupur, the temple administration willingly gave away a part of the temple land and in return, the government additionally donated around a thousand acres to the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, as compensation.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Devotees throng the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, all year round for the sight of their beloved God and attendance increase at many Hindu festivals like Diwali. For tourists however, the weather of Ahmadabad is typically same as the majority of Gujarat and is semiarid. The best time to visit is the winter between September and December.
How to Reach
Ahamdabad being one of the largest metropolitan regions in India hosts an international airport, which goes by the name of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, located in the outskirts of the city. The city is connected to the rest of India and major international hubs with regular flights.
The railways connect Ahmadabad to all the major cities in Gujarat and India. Most of the trains heading to or from the cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore make a stop or originate from Ahmadabad.
Ahmadabad is the major waypoint on the National Highway 8 that connects Mumbai, Gandhinagar and Ahmadabad to New Delhi. The city is easily accessible by road.
Where to Stay
The Shri Swaminarayan Mandir has a sprawling area that houses spacious and air-conditioned guesthouse along with a fully facilitated medical center in the temple premises. There are many good hotels for tourists in Ahmadabad.
- The main deity of the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is NarNarayan Dev, who is a depiction of man and God in the form Nara and Vishnu. The temple is the home for the throne of the deity and is popularly known as the NarNaraya Gadi (Gadi meaning Throne).
- All the Hindu festivals are celebrated here with pomp, especially those involving the avatars of Vishnu, like in Diwali. The thal Rasoi of the temple is especially famous for its Prasad and daily meals.
- The Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is the first temple of the Swaminarayan sect of Hindus and after its construction several other prominent temples have been constructed all over the world.